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Cratejoy Review: Pricing, Pros, Cons & Alternatives in 2020

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Strengths

  • One-of-a-kind marketplace for subscription boxes
  • Decent search capability and helpful filters
  • A wide variety of boxes and sellers

Weaknesses

  • The website itself doesn't offer a refund policy
  • If the seller disappears, you may not get a refund at all

Breakdown Details

MEMBERSHIP OPTION

No

FREE TRIAL

14 Day Trial

TRACK ORDER OPTION

Yes (via Marketplace Page)

SHIPPING

$10 - Locally , $30 - Elsewhere

Cratejoy was founded by Amir Elaguizy and Alex Morse in 2014. It has been in the market for six years, and it isn’t BBB accredited. The website has subscription boxes – packages of niche products that are delivered regularly (typically every month) to people who either subscribe to the service or receive them as gifts. At the other end of the supply chain are subscription-based e-commerce businesses (Subcom) that can post their subscription box on Cratejoy, or create their own website with the platform’s site builder. This Cratejoy review will focus on the consumers who can enjoy subscription boxes from several different categories, including self-care, wellness, beauty, geek & gaming, art, etc.

How Much Does Cratejoy Cost?

Since Cratejoy doesn’t sell any products on its own, nor manages to ship for subscription boxes, it doesn’t charge the subscriber a dime. You can sign in and subscribe to a box. Though according to some of the Cratejoy marketplace reviews, it costs an arm and leg to sell through Cratejoy. 

The price you pay will be set by the seller, and though they are bound by Cratejoy’s pricing model and guidelines, sellers have autonomy in setting their subscription box’s price. But according to many of the reviews customers leave about their subscription on a particular seller’s product on Cratejoy, the prices are very reasonable. And while it varies from subscription to subscription, many consumers find the value of the box to be more than the price they pay.

Since there isn’t a centralized shipping system, international shipping can add quite a lot to the cost. For example, a product that’s being shipped from Canada worldwide incurs $10 shipping costs locally, and almost $30 elsewhere. The price of the monthly box is about $50.

Saving Opportunities

Many Cratejoy coupons are available on the website itself. If you press the coupons button at the right side of the search bar, you can browse all products that are currently selling at a discount. Discounts are available in both percentages as well as flat dollar (or another currency) amounts. The percentage amount applies only to the cost of the box, not the shipping.

Shipping & Packaging

Cratejoy doesn’t ship subscription boxes to consumers. The sellers (the ones who are marketing the subscription boxes on Cratejoy’s marketplace) are responsible for curating, packaging, and shipping the subscription boxes themselves. The website does offer guides and calculators to help them, but that’s it.

For consumers who are subscribing to niche boxes, what it means is that you will not get a uniform packaging and shipping experience. While most available Cratejoy reviews are from sellers, the few that are from subscribers include grievances about shipping limitations. Since it’s up to the seller to ship the product, they get to set the rules. This means they mostly ship within their countries, and international subscriptions might cost extra (a lot of “extra”). 

And while Cratejoy tries to standardize shipping and packaging from their end, it’s a hard thing to enforce. On the plus side, the sellers have to be careful with the packaging and ensuring the subscriber gets the box in great shape, because otherwise, they might incur a bad rating based on a poor but honest Cratejoy review.

How Cratejoy Works

Cratejoy serves two primary entities: Consumers who want to sign up for subscription boxes and businesses, entrepreneurs, brands, or influencers who want to create a subscription box service. The strength of Cratejoy lies in the subscription services that are present on the website, and how many people visit and subscribe for available boxes every month. There is also a Cratejoy site builder that helps people and businesses create their own subscription box website, but it’s suitable for those who already have a following.

For people who visit the website to find the perfect subscription box, there are thousands of Cratejoy boxes available, divided into several categories. 

Website Layout

The website will give you a vibe typical of e-commerce websites. The front page is loaded with the best-selling boxes of the week (in all categories), tried and true favorites, and curated picks. You can simply search the subscription box you are looking for and filter your search based on parameters like price, rating, and most favorite. You can also browse through different categories; there are about 11 of them.

There is a whole separate section for gifts. Categories are divided into subcategories, and if you want to sell instead of buy, there is a different “marketplace” page for that. 

How Subscription Works

You might be disappointed to find that this Cratejoy review will not enlighten you about subscribing to Cratejoy, because there is no such thing. Cratejoy is a marketplace for people/businesses that create subscription boxes, and you subscribe to them directly. When you find the right product, you get to see a whole page about the particular subscription box. 

It includes details about the box, questions, reviews, and features (not the features of the box, rather the articles featured in it). You have two subscription options: either you can subscribe to the box yourself, or give it as a gift. And you can give away Cratejoy boxes as gifts at a fixed frequency (usually once a month). So when you subscribe to Cratejoy, you are actually subscribing to the particular subscription box product. 

Cratejoy Subscription Boxes

Cratejoy has a wide variety of subscription boxes, and categories aren’t the only differences between them. They vary in prices, number of items, and even whether they are truly niche products or just localized branding. Beauty products, for example, are more or less like buying a product online. The difference is that you can get your desired product at a set frequency. You can even leave Cratejoy subscription box reviews to endorse the particular box or warn others against buying it. 

The subscriptions are mostly on a monthly basis. But if you subscribe for a more extended period, like three-months, six-months or a year, the seller might offer you a discount. There are custom boxes available, but for that, you’ll have to contact and communicate with the seller before subscribing. There isn’t a standardized form that’s part of Cratejoy’s website and subscription process.

Managing Your Subscription

Your subscription isn’t with Cratejoy, rather with a seller that has a subscription box on the Cratejoy marketplace. Still, since you pay through the Cratejoy website, you can cancel your subscription at any time. It won’t get you a refund, but it will prevent your credit card from being charged every month. If you think you deserve a refund, you have to contact the seller directly. 

Sellers can easily refund your money through their portal. If not, Cratejoy isn’t likely to intervene. You can leave a scathing, but honest Cratejoy review at the seller’s page. Most sellers are mindful of their reputation, and if your refund request is justified, they will likely comply.

There are no features to return the subscription box or skip a delivery. But you can talk to your sellers, and if both of you come to an arrangement, you can either cancel the subscription for one month and resume for another. Or you can return the box for a full refund.  

Customer Service

As a consumer or subscriber to one of the Cratejoy boxes, you won’t have much to do with the customer service. One review mentioned that if you have a problem, Cratejoy isn’t likely to intervene, and you have to come to an understanding with the seller. Sellers have a lot of interaction with the customer service, seller reviews about the quality, responsiveness, and competency of Cratejoy customer service are a mixed bunch. Some people like customer service, while others believe they are incompetent.

Pros & Cons

One-of-a-kind marketplace for subscription boxes

Decent search capability and helpful filters

A wide variety of boxes and sellers

Cratejoy customer reviews on every box can help you find the best ones.

The website itself doesn't offer a refund policy

If the seller disappears, you may not get a refund at all.

Cratejoy Reviews and Testimonials 

Most prominent Cratejoy reviews are from the sellers, not the subscribers. So reviews on websites like Trustpilot and BBB don’t really paint an accurate (or a flattering) picture of the service. A simple snapshot of reviews is:

  • Trustpilot: 3.1/5 (based on three reviews)
  • Influenster: 4.1/5 (based on 19 reviews)

The reviews on g2 and Capterra are better, 4.5 and 4.4, respectively, but they are from the sellers. Most reliable customer reviews, from people who subscribe to the boxes available on Cratejoy, are available on the website. They are for the products/subscription box itself, not the portal. They vary from box to box, but there aren’t many strong opinions about the Cratejoy, neither positive nor negative. 

How Does it Compare?

There aren’t any true competitors to Cratejoy. Despite the fact that Cratejoy doesn’t ship for its sellers like Amazon does, or has no specified Cratejoy pricing model, it’s a true marketplace for subscription boxes. It has several categories, thousands of boxes, and millions of website viewers. Most subscription boxes services are run by individuals/businesses or influencers from their own websites. The only alternative we found was uOpen from the UK, but based on the number of products available and website’s functionality, Cratejoy is head and shoulders above uOpen.

Is Cratejoy worth it? — The Verdict

Cratejoy is an amazing platform for finding subscription boxes. It offers variety, searchability, and boxes in a wide price range to cater to different kinds of buyers. Instead of hunting individual subscription boxes, you can find a wide variety of them in one platform and get them shipped to you (if shipping is within an affordable range). This Cratejoy review is written for prospective subscribers/consumers. One thing you can do to ensure that you get your ideal box, with contents that at least match the value of the price you are paying, is to read reviews and communicate with the seller directly, to clear away any doubts you might have. If in doubt, only opt for the one-month subscription at first.

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